The Architecture of Philip Johnson

The Architecture of Philip Johnson

by Stephen Fox, Hillary Lewis, Richard Payne, Hilary Lewis
     
 

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The only comprehensive guide to the architecture of Philip Johnson--one of the most significant architects of the 20th century--with exquisite photographs and a foreword by the architect himself.

Philip Johnson's imprint is indelibly stamped on cities across America. From New York's AT&T (now Sony) Building to his famous Glass House in Connecticut, Johnson's

Overview

The only comprehensive guide to the architecture of Philip Johnson--one of the most significant architects of the 20th century--with exquisite photographs and a foreword by the architect himself.

Philip Johnson's imprint is indelibly stamped on cities across America. From New York's AT&T (now Sony) Building to his famous Glass House in Connecticut, Johnson's innovative designs and widespead influence have made him the undisputed dean of 20th-century architecture. With a foreword by Johnson himself, an essay by his biographer Hilary Lewis, and over 400 color photographs accompanied by detailed building descriptions, this is the book on Philip Johnson's architecture. The photographs were taken by Richard Payne, one of Johnson's personal photographers, who set out to document all extant buildings designed by this celebrated visionary. Johnson has produced a life's work full of surprises and groundbreaking ideas that have shaped the way we live, work, and play.

Author Biography: Philip Johnson has been at the center of American architecture since he served as the first Director of Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932. In the seven decades since then, Johnson has designed some of America's greatest landmarks, most notably his own home, the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Editorial Reviews

Town and Country
...a handsome monograph that just may outweigh the man himself...
Publishers Weekly
"It is embarrassing to see all the buildings I have ever built stretched out in one book like this," writes Johnson in his preface to this catalogue raisonn of his built work, covering 60 years and vast amounts of square footage. He might not be kidding: in addition to such indisputable, familiar masterpieces as Glass House (Johnson's New Canaan weekend house on 50 acres, completed in 1942 and complemented with other buildings over the years), the MoMA sculpture garden, the "notched" AT&T Building (now Sony Plaza) and the Four Seasons restaurant, there are quite a few less distinguished glass boxes here, many of them built for Texas oil companies. All of Johnson's buildings have been lovingly photographed by Richard Payne (described on the flap as "one of Johnson's personal photographers,"), and many of the 390 four-color and b&w shots take up entire 11" 13" pages. The scale is appropriate: Johnson's corporate work, particularly, needs to be given due scale so readers can appreciate the magnitude of their thrust and, often, odd beauty. Some of the truly giant reflective towers (IDS Center, Transco Tower and Water Wall, Pennzoil Place) may suck up all the air and space around them, but they do it with a wink. An introduction by Hilary Lewis, an architectural historian who has "worked with" Johnson on publications for the last decade, outlines the sweep of Johnson's career, while Stephen Fox (Houston Architectural Guide) provides histories and descriptions of each building. Despite his being a major purveyor the '70s and '80s monolithic impulse (such as the grim Post Oak Central complex in Houston), it's nearly impossible to dislike Johnson or his work; for every taunting propulsion, there is inkling of whimsy, as in the red, impossibly curved Gate House recently added to the New Canaan complex. (Sept. 14) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This retrospective of Philip Johnson's (b. 1906) architectural work is a tribute to his thinking and a tour of how his ideas became buildings. Johnson filled in some of the architectural blanks of the 20th century by combining his originality with brilliant reference points and designing dozens of structures as the enduring legacy of his elegant and careful imagination. Though dominated by his massive commercial structures, the book includes exceptional photographs of his New Canaan, CT, property the best I have seen. The Glass House and the other small, sophisticated homes and studios he has crafted become sculptures as they are lovingly photographed by Johnson's principal photographer, Payne, in different seasons and light. Architectural historian Lewis contributes an essay, Fox (Houston Architectural Guide) provides the descriptive text, and the architect himself provides the foreword. In a plainspoken, bluntly honest self-assessment, Johnson goes after his own failures and modestly enjoys his successes. He is remarkably objective about his creations, clearly caring about the work and the responsibility of an architect. This book, by its scale, exceptional photography, spare text, and images of Johnson's wonderful buildings, honors his career. Recommended. David Bryant, New Canaan P.L., CT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821227886
Publisher:
Bulfinch
Publication date:
09/28/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
11.30(w) x 13.70(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Architecture of Philip Johnson


By Hilary Lewis, Philip Johnson, Richard Payne

Bulfinch Press

Copyright © 2002 Philip Johnson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0821227882


Chapter One

It is embarrassing to see all the buildings I have ever built stretched out in one book like this. I had no idea I'd built so many buildings. I couldn't say (as I would like to) that this one's good and this one's bad. Like all architects, I am only interested in my next building. What did happen as I went through this book is that by leaving out the obvious (my own house and other well-known structures), several buildings struck me as worth a remark.

Technically the MoMA Sculpture Garden is landscape architecture, but it is organized as an architecturally arranged room. It is interesting to me to walk through the sequence of "rooms" to view the sculptures. In the reconstruction of the MoMA beginning in 2001, the garden was destroyed. It will, however, we trust, be rebuilt.

The Museum Building at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute in Utica is one of my best plans - in fact, one of my best buildings. Clear plan and good materials (granite and bronze).

The Nuclear Reactor in Rehovat, Israel, is my temple in the desert. Again the clear plan, with an inner courtyard. The warped panels covering the actual reactor sphere are a feature I have used very often in my later work, right up to the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, which is still onthe boards.

The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery is a calm repetition of symmetrically placed arcuated features. The nine arches are identical, except that the center three are glass. Simple to the point of repetition, but clear and successful.

The New York State Pavilion at the 1964-65 World's Fair is now a ruin. In a way, the ruin is even more haunting than the original structure. There ought to be a university course in the pleasure of ruins.

The Kline Tower at Yale dominates its part of the campus by its size and site. It is known as my "Tootsie Roll Building" because of the cylindrical columns that emphasize each of its main facades. I have always had a weakness for round or curved surfaces. They catch light so much better than square or right-angle corners.

The RepublicBank (now Bank of America Center) in Houston was designed in a style reminiscent of Dutch Baroque gables. It makes a much less boring tower than the usual block.

The "Lipstick Building" is a nickname that stuck for my tower at 53rd Street on Third Avenue. What a thrill to drive through the streets of New York and find this relief from the square plan of the normal office tower.

The Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston was the only building in my career that I unashamedly copied from another architect, Claude-Nicholas Ledoux, an eighteenth-century French genius. His building was also an educational structure. I changed a few little things along the way.

PHILIP JOHNSON New Canaan, CT

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Architecture of Philip Johnson by Hilary Lewis, Philip Johnson, Richard Payne Copyright © 2002 by Philip Johnson
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Philip Johnson has been at the center of American architecture since he served as the first Director of Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932. There, he co-authored and curated the ground breaking book and show on modernism, The International Style. In the seven decades since then, Johnson has designed some of America's greatest landmarks.
Hilary Lewis is an architectural historian and urban planner who writes frequently on the built environment. For nearly a decade she has worked with Philip Johnson on books and articles.
Richard Payne has worked worldwide for many of the nation's leading architectural design firms and continuously as Philip Johnson's principal photographer since 1979.

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